Angrboda | Norse Mythology

Angrboda | Norse Mythology

Angrboda (Angrboða: "messenger of fear, bringer of fear, bringer of grief") is a giantess in Norse mythology.

In her union with Loki, she gives birth to three children: the giant wolf Fenrir, the Midgard serpent Jörmungand, and the goddess of the dead Hel.

Because of the danger the children posed to the gods, Fenrir was bound with the shackle Gleipnir, Jörmungand was thrown into the sea by the Aesir, and Hel was banished to the underworld, where she reigns as ruler of the dead.

Angrboda is often equated with the "old woman of the iron forest" (old woman in Jarnvidr) of the Völuspá. As such she gave birth to "the brood of Fenrir" Skoll and Hati as well as Garm.

Etymology of Angrboda

The etymology of the name in Old Norse is as follows: angr (from Proto-Indo-European *anghu, constriction; related to Latin "angosto", narrow; to English "anger", anger, wrath; to Swedish "ånger", regret) means a feeling of "tightness" or "constriction" of the body and by extension "pain, sorrow, grief, anguish, anxiety".

In modern Icelandic "angr" is "sorrow", in Norwegian "angr" is a strait/throat. boda (related to English "to bid", to ask, beg, to Swedish "bud", request) means messenger or herald or a message (cf. in modern Icelandic, "boði", a messenger). The meaning of Angrboda is therefore "Messenger of sorrow" or "herald of sorrows".

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